Delta Shifts Lisbon Flight From Atlanta To Boston

Filed Under: Delta

Delta has just announced that they’ll be swapping one transatlantic route for next summer, which I find to be quite interesting.

Delta is launching flights between Boston and Lisbon

Delta will be launching summer seasonal nonstop flights between Boston and Lisbon. The route will operate between May 23 and September 3, 2019. The airline will operate the flight using a Boeing 757-200, with the following schedule:

DL124 Boston to Lisbon departing 9:45PM arriving 9:15AM (+1 day)
DL125 Lisbon to Boston departing 10:45AM arriving 1:15PM

The flight will cover a distance of just under 3,200 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 6hr30min eastbound and 7hr30min westbound.

Delta is using a domestically configured 757-200 for the route. The plane they’ll use features a total of 199 seats, including 20 first class seats, 29 Comfort+ seats, and 150 economy seats.

This flight will have standard domestic first class seats that will be sold as premium economy

The first class seats will be sold as Premium Select, which is the name of Delta’s premium economy cabin. That’s a pretty logical way for them to go about this.

What’s Delta’s strategy with this new Lisbon route?

Historically Delta has operated flights to Lisbon out of Atlanta and New York JFK, and on both flights they used planes with a “true” business class cabin.

It looks like Delta’s new Boston to Lisbon route is coming at the expense of Delta’s Atlanta to Lisbon route as of the summer of 2019.

While Boston isn’t one of Delta’s global hubs, it is a focus city for them, and they already operate some transatlantic flights from there, to Amsterdam, Dublin, London, and Paris. We’ve known that they’re trying to increase their presence out of the airport.

When I first saw this announcement it struck me as a rather random addition. If you’re going to launch a fifth transatlantic flight out of Boston, you wouldn’t think Lisbon would be the logical choice.

Yes, there’s a huge Portuguese population in Massachusetts, though Lisbon is also a pretty low yield destination. TAP Air Portugal already operates the route nonstop. The airline is known for having some of the lowest transatlantic fares, and they also have the benefit of offering connecting flights beyond Lisbon.

TAP Air Portugal A330 at Lisbon Airport

Is this the most logical fifth transatlantic destination for Delta to add out of Boston? Nope, there are definitely higher yield destinations. However, is this a logical route for Delta to shift from Atlanta to Boston, allowing them to operate the flight with a plane that’s lower capacity and doesn’t have a business class cabin? Yes, absolutely. Boston is also Delta’s furthest northeast gateway, so this should create easy connecting opportunities from all over the US.

What do you make of Delta’s new Boston to Lisbon route?

  1. Lisbon is not Boston’s fourth transatlantic route for Delta (in addition to Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin). It is the fifth. Delta also flies to London from Boston, which is, I’m pretty sure, a transatlantic route.

  2. Delta doesn’t mind low yielding flights to Boston because they are in it to win it. That’s a position American Airlines could have been in but they chose not to fight for some reason. Delta wants to put Jetblue out of business and then they’ll have the Boston market to themselves and prices can rise substantially.
    This seems to be a great time for Delta employees.

  3. This is terrible for me. I live in DC, which has hourly flights to ATL but no non-stop flights to Boston. That means I have to take 3 flights instead of 2 just to get to Lisbon. Oy…

  4. My assumption is that Delta wasn’t getting a lot of feeder traffic through Atlanta to Lisbon that they couldn’t get via Boston or JFK. Operating from Atlanta to Lisbon was on a wide-body (I think 767-300ER).

    The JFK to Lisbon flight is currently on a 757 with Delta One. I wonder if they’ll make the switch the Premium Select (First Class) so their offerings there are the same on both flights – or if they’ll leave the JFK with Delta One so business travelers still have a lay flat option

  5. or @Mitch Cumstein – you can just take United nonstop from IAD to LIS. Or yes, DCA-JFK-LIS. Not worth it to take 3 flights to get to Lisbon.

  6. DL also has 100+ 757s (I assume a decent amount are domestic F config), whereas AA has gotten rid of theirs, upgraded to lie flat, or relegated to the phx-hawaii runs – even if AA tried to reverse their BOS downsizing, they don’t have any trial aircraft to do it.

    Even for a low yield TATL with no J, that probably makes a bit more money than a domestic 757 flight like ATL to MSP. This seems pretty unique though – the first TATL with only PE and Y on a legacy carrier? Maybe this is the pilot program for a US-based equivalent of Level or Norwegian or Rouge? Except instead of using new fuel efficient planes, they can just use their leftover paid off domestic config 757s (assuming they have etops).

  7. @Marshall exactly right – DL wants to win and TP has been a big threat for all major players up in BOS.

    But a domestically configured 757?? Mehhh, I’ll fly Tap and save on $$ and gain in comfort.

  8. “Historically” might be a bit too grand. Delta flew JFK-LIS in summer 2017 and JFK-LIS and ATL-LIS in summer 2018. Before that they didn’t fly to Lisbon at all, at least not any time recently. So it’s a pretty new market for them. Perhaps they found that a 767 was too much capacity but a 757 from Atlanta is too far, so they found the next-best city where they could operate a smaller aircraft alongside the JFK flight, which is apparently Boston.

  9. Mass/RI have bigger population wanting to visit family, they don’t fly much so a decent seat and a non stop helps, my mother a likely target flyer on this route is impressed by JetBlue serving Dunkin Donuts coffee on board, domestic configuration 757 isn’t a issue with her just us geeks that read travel blogs.

    Going to Paris I wanted AF 777.2 with updates business cabin or nothing! most people don’t care like my parents, they just was a simple flight priced decent (non stop)

    Also worth noting JetBlue’s likely announcement (share holder meeting) trans Atlantic out of Logan, delta wants to keep a strong presence with additional flights

  10. After about 7 years of Delta making a big deal that all of its international flights had lay-flat Delta One seats, though in practice it wasn’t until 2013 or 2014 that this was true, Delta is reversing itself and increasingly offering only domestic first-class, sold as premium economy, to vacation-heavy destinations in Europe. Ireland, Iceland and now Portugal. Maybe Delta will return to Sweden or start flying to Scotland with domestic 757s. But this is a huge downgrade, not least because: (1) premium economy doesn’t come with lounge access; (2) premium economy doesn’t have up to 200% MQM bonus; and (3) premium economy doesn’t get you a complimentary upgrade as a Delta diamond.

  11. I have been flying Delta Business class JFK-LIS-JFK these last few months – and will do it again tomorrow. All the 12 flights I took in Business were completely full and the flight has always been overbooked. Never spent less than 3500 usd per ticket. I am not sure it is such low yield.

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *